Soccer

Blatter lashes out at IOC

2011-01-07 20:21
Sepp Blatter (File)

Doha - FIFA President Sepp Blatter criticised the IOC on Friday while defending his own organisation against corruption allegations, saying that the Olympic body handles its finances "like a housewife."

Blatter, who has been a member of the International Olympic Committee since 1999, said FIFA was more transparent than the IOC, and he also backtracked on plans to create a new anti-corruption commission.

"Our accounts are open to everyone. ... We've (done) it since I'm the president. It wasn't done before," Blatter said in Qatar, where he is attending the Asian Cup. "The IOC does it like a housewife. She receives some money and she spends some money."

Blatter also said the IOC "has no transparency," and that any transparency was left to the Olympic-sanctioned sports themselves.

"In the 115 members of the IOC, only 45 are directly linked to sport," the FIFA president said. "All the others, the 70 members are individually appointed members. If you need to know where in the world you still have princes, princesses and kings, then you go the list of members of the IOC. You will find a lot of them."

Reminded that Jordan's Prince Ali Bin al-Hussein was elected as a FIFA vice president on Thursday, Blatter joked that "we can afford one."

Blatter also described the IOC as "a club."

In a statement to The Associated Press, the IOC responded to Blatter's comments by saying its finances "are sound, professionally managed and transparent."

The IOC said it has followed international financial reporting standards since 1998 and provided detailed statements to members - including Blatter - as well as a public report every two years.

"It is worth noting that more than 90 percent of the income received by the IOC is redistributed to the organizing committees of the Olympic Games, the International Federations and the National Olympic Committees," the statement said.

Blatter's criticism of the IOC is not likely to go down well, especially at a time when football's governing body faces an IOC probe.

The IOC ethics commission is studying evidence provided by the BBC after it broadcast allegations that FIFA officials - some with Olympic connections - took kickbacks from the football body's former marketing partner in the 1990s.

The BBC alleged that secret payments were received by three long-standing members of FIFA's ruling committee, including African confederation president Issa Hayatou in 1995. Hayatou, from Cameroon, became an IOC member in 2001.

The program also alleged that kickbacks were paid to former FIFA President Joao Havelange. The 94-year-old Brazilian is the IOC's longest-serving member with 47 years in the movement.

Blatter, however, said FIFA's procedures for eradicating wrongdoing within the organisation "work well."

He backtracked from the anti-corruption commission plan he floated just a few days ago, which he told a Swiss newspaper would improve FIFA's credibility. Instead, he said the committee made up of "high level personalities in culture, economics and sport" would play more of an advisory role and would not replace the current ethics committee, which was created in 2006.

"The controversy started yesterday in the newspapers ... concerning an anti-corruption group is absolutely untrue," Blatter said. "This has nothing to do with a new anti-corruption unit. We have an anti-corruption unit. This is the ethics committee of FIFA. This unit works well. Even we haven't had any evidence of corruption but we have had evidence of noncompliance with the code of ethics. This has been the cases you know."

FIFA has come under fire after several officials were accused of bribe-taking and vote-trading before the World Cup host elections last month. Russia was awarded the 2018 tournament and Qatar was given 2022.

FIFA's ethics panel investigated and barred two of the 24-member executive committee members, Amos Adamu of Nigeria and Reynald Temarii of Tahiti, from voting based on evidence provided from an undercover sting by British newspaper The Sunday Times.

Adamu became the first FIFA official suspended for bribery and is serving a three-year ban from duty. Temarii, a FIFA vice president, was given a one-year ban for breaching rules on confidentiality and loyalty.

Both men have said they will appeal their sentences.

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